Egypt’s New Constitution

Yesterday, we got a little bit into US politics, talking about Susan Rice. Today, we will be focusing on world politics, specifically the Middle East. And more specifically, Egypt. (I know, I know, Egypt is technically an African country, but many group it as part of the Middle East.)

But before we get into this, a word about the engineering questions I posted three days ago. If you think you have the answer or would like to know how to get the answer, then please contact me through the Contacts page. I will reply to you as soon as possible.

President Morsi

Back to Egypt. Recently, President-elect Muburak was overthrown because nobody liked his corrupted lifestyle. Muburak wasted money, left his own people to suffer, and was sort of like a dictator. Of course, people protested it. Then they started rebelling. The result happened to be, again, Muburak gone and a new chance for Egyptian democracy. So, there was this election for a new, better Egyptian president. The winner, who won 51% of the vote, was a man named Mohamed Morsi, who belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood Party.

Soon after Morsi was elected, we begin to see history repeating itself. Morsi suddenly declared dictator-like powers for himself, saying his power was above the judicial council and anything else. He claims this at a time when he brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Look’s like he was feeling too good about himself.

Of course, Egyptians did not want this and protested again. Morsi after some time finally said all right and with other groups of people started drafting a constitution. The Muslim Brotherhood Party believed that after this constitution, there would finally be peace. Sorry, but the opposite happened. Again, there were more violent protests against this constitutional draft. Well, why?

The first thing to make clear is that only the liberals and non-Muslims are protesting. They felt that their voices weren’t heard, and that all of this constitution was biased towards the Muslim Brotherhood. This was one reason why people rebelled against this. Keep in mind most Muslims are happy about this.

Egyptian protestors

Second, many people feel this draft will make Egypt more of a theocracy rather than a democracy. For instance, one part of the draft says that Islamic clerics have unprecedented powers. Well, this is not fair, unless other clerics of other religions also have this kind of power. Not only this, the draft also says that when referring to public morals and values, Islamic law would be the main determining factor. This translates into the fact that many people, including non-Muslims, will have to abide by Islamic law. Perhaps to make it sound good on paper, those drafters decided to add: “Freedom of belief is an inviolable right…” but I don’t know how in the world this is freedom of religion when you have to abide by a religion that you don’t believe in!

And if you think about it, if Islamic law does become the supreme power, than what does this mean about women’s status? Obviously degraded. Then, women will have to wear cloaks, can’t drive cars, etc. Thus the reason why many women are also protesting this constitutional draft.

CNN Making Sense of Egypt’s Poltical Crisis–  link to news video for more detailed info

So basically what is happening is that Egypt is divided into two factions on this issue: 1) You can support the Muslim Brotherhood party where Muslims rule and where they can inject Muslim laws into your daily lives (this reminds me of GOP trying to inject Christian values into everybody’s lives), or 2) you can go support the opposition group and advocate for a better draft. If you were living in Egypt, which one would you choose?

You can probably infer what my position is on this through my biased tone. Yes, I am for choice #2. Anyway, just yesterday the Egyptian people voted on whether to approve this constitution (the process ended yesterday). The results are showing that it is approved, but many protest that the voting process was unfair. No doubt it is. Perhaps what we really need is a third party to get involved. If you have a better idea, please comment.

However much I wish, I cannot control what is happening in Egypt. Let the Egyptians themselves decide that.


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